Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Force Dice & Destiny Points

The one Edge of the Empire (Beta)* die that I did not dicuss last week was the Force Die.  Although EotE-B does not focus on the Force per se, the twelve pages of Chapter VIII are devoted to it; providing an introduction as to how game mechanics accommodate the Force.  The third installment of Fantasy Flight Games' Star Wars Roleplaying Game, Force and Destiny (anticipated for 2015), will doubtless supply a more thorough study.

Force-sensitive characters have a 'Force Rating' from 1 to 7.  A Force Rating of 2 has a magnitude of Tenuous and the examples given are self-taught exile and Padawan.  A Force Rating of 6 has a magnitude of Formidable and the examples given are Jedi Master and Sith Lord.  An EotE-B character can become Force-sensitive by acquiring the Force-Sensitive Exile specialization.  This provides a Force Rating of 1; through experience, a Force Rating of 2 can be obtained.

EotE-B describes three Force powers that a Force-sensitive character may use:  Sense, Infuence, and Move.  Each must be purchased separately.  When a Force-sensitive character  attempts to use a Force power, the player rolls a number of Force Dice equal to the character's Force Rating.  Unlike other EotE-B dice, Force Dice to not generate success/failure symbols; instead, they generate 'resources' in the form of Force points.

Each side of the Force die has one or two resources represented, either 'light side' symbols (white circles) or 'dark side' symbols (black circles).  Six faces have one dark side symbol each and one face has two dark side symbols.  Two faces have one light side symbol each and three faces have two light side symbols each.  Although the two sides are balanced (each 'side' has a total of eight symbols on the die), it's more likely that any given roll will generate a dark side result (seven dark side faces versus five light side faces).

A Force-sensitive character can use light side results and dark side results, but there are costs associated with using the dark side.  Full- fledged Jedi and other powerful Force users suffer unique penalties for using dark side results, but – given the scope of EotE-B – those penalties are not discussed.  EotE-B characters employing the dark side of the Force must use a Destiny Point (see below) and suffer 'strain' damage.

While the Force may not play a significant part (if any) in an EotE-B campaign, Force Dice are still used.  At the beginning of each session, a 'Destiny Pool' is determined.  Each player (not GM) rolls a Force Die; the result indicates the type and number of 'Destiny Points' that will go into the pool.  (For instance, two light side symbols indicates two light side Destiny Points; one dark side symbol means one dark side Destiny Point.)  Players may 'use' light side Destiny Points to upgrade their chances of performing a task or to hinder the tasks of opposing non-player characters. Players may also 'use' light side Destiny Points to activate certain talents and special abilities.  Narrative elements of luck can also be introduced into the game, such as a character conveniently having a specific item of equipment that was not previously noted.

When a player 'uses' a light side Destiny Point, it doesn't disappear; it becomes a dark side Destiny Point which the Game Master can use against the players.  Of course, when the GM uses a dark side Destiny Point, it becomes a light side Destiny Point.  Thus is established an ebb and flow of fate.  To keep track of Destiny Points, I think that Othello/Reversi chips would be ideal.

*  From page 66, it seems a preliminary title was Edge of the Darkness.

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